Smoked fish and potatoes are a big part of the Russian diet. This is a Niçoise-style salad using potatoes and smoked trout. The egg is a nod to the fertility rites of the spring pagan celebration of May Day. Served with the cheese bread, it makes a simple dinner or lavish lunch.
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3 tbsp red-wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon or 1 tsp dried tarragon
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 red-leaf lettuce, torn into pieces
250 g (8 oz) smoked trout, skinned
250 g (8 oz) mini red-skinned potatoes, boiled
6 asparagus spears, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces, blanched
1/2 cup finely sliced red onion
2 hard-boiled eggs, quartered
1 cup pitted black olives, halved
1 tsp cracked black pepper
Stir vinegar with Dijon and tarragon. Gradually whisk in olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Reserve. Toss lettuce with 1/4 cup dressing in a large bowl. Line a platter with dressed lettuce.
Break trout into large flakes. Arrange trout, potatoes, asparagus, onion, eggs and olives in rows over the lettuce. Drizzle with remaining vinaigrette (there may be a little extra). Season with black pepper.
Suggested Wine Pairings
The vinaigrette will set up a bit of a roadblock for any wine. You’ve just got to smile confidently and drive on through, preferably with a zippy riesling. My first choice would be Australian riesling, bone-dry and buzzing with high-watt acidity, though Germany or Canada won’t let you down. Second choice: a dry rosé from Provence. - Beppi Crosariol